Creating a Tale Worth Telling
Creating a Tale Worth Telling
for thought' is a collection of thought-provoking poems,
case studies, book extracts, research and articles about
This page also serves as an index to some of the more
sections of the Active
If any of these questions interest you, read
Creating a Tale Worth Telling
"To create a life story which is credible, which allows development as well as continuity, which tells a tale worth telling - this is the task that, as human beings, we must all attempt... we must approach our experience, and that of others, with the greatest possible imagination."
Changing our story jointly with others
"To change the story of our lives must, in fact, always involve changes for other people. Because our stories must have an audience, because their themes encompass other lives besides our own, because our characters are intimately, inextricably interlinked - we cannot, as single individuals, take the story just wherever we might choose. Arbitrarily to introduce a radical new departure in your personal story is to interrupt the dance, to court the protest, or the disbelief, of others. Changes that are convincing, that can be personally lived out, can only be made jointly with others."
Each story influences all the others
"Like these old pocket watches, Systems Thinking helps people combine stories (the gears) into a comprehensive model. Each story influences all the others. Each story, if changed, alters the others. Most importantly, from the person's perspective that is telling it, each story is sane. Systems Thinking provides a blameless picture of the whole problem so that it can be solved as a whole."
"As much as we may exert our own individuality and even claim the victory of having achieved it, the fully independent self will always remain one step ahead of us, for contrary to our perceptions our individuality is very much shaped in relationships with others. Paradoxically, the awakening of our own individuality or the affirmation of who we are grounded in our own experiences is achieved by entering into conversation with others who in turn reinforce and acknowledge our freedom and existence as individuals. As participants ventured into the new realm of learning experience holding the tension between individuality and relationality, inside out and outside in, the learning space continued to evolve and expand."
Stuck with the same story
"Each person's script beliefs provide a distorted framework for viewing self, others, and the quality of life. In order to engage in script display, individuals must discount other options; they frequently will maintain that their behavior is the "natural" or "only" way they can respond. When used socially, script displays are likely to produce interpersonal experiences that, in turn, are governed by and contribute to the reinforcement of script beliefs.
They didn't need experts
"Once neighbour began meeting neighbour, they learned that many answers to their questions were available right there in Ozone. They didn't need experts. They just needed to start talking to each other."
"By separating teaching from learning, we have teachers who do not listen and students who do not talk."
Four Ways of Knowing
"Knowing will be more valid - richer, deeper, more true to life and more useful - if these four ways of knowing are congruent with each other: if our knowing is
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool.
Freedom to Learn
When I have been able to transform a group - and here I mean all of the members of a group, myself included - into a community of learners, then the excitement has been almost beyond belief. To free curiosity, to permit individuals to go charging off in new directions dictated by their own interests; to unleash the sense of enquiry; to open everything to questioning and exploration; to recognise that everything is in the process of change - here is an experience I can never forget.
Improving the Learning ClimateReviewing is not simply a process for extracting identifiable learning from an experience. (And reviewing is nothing like a clinical operation in which the surgeon extracts the learning from an anaesthetised patient!) Reviewing is (at it's best) a more cooperative and creative process in which participants are alive to learning opportunities and encourage and support each other's learning. In other words, effective reviewing (in a group setting) creates a community that thrives on learning while also providing tools for homing in on specific learning points.
This page (adapted from 'Playback') presents the case for this more strategic (and more empowering) use of reviewing processes.
Learning and development are more likely to happen if the learning climate is responsive to individuals' developmental needs. A number of developmental needs are listed below, together with brief examples of how reviewing can help to meet them.* we can respond to the need for ...
*This list of needs is drawn from the work of Maslow (1954), Lindgren (1956) and Kellmer-Pringle (1965). Similar needs have been identified by Carl Rogers (1969) as being critical needs to satisfy in order to create the "freedom to learn".
of meeting developmental needs is considered more fully in my
Children Learn What They Live
a child lives with criticism,
she learns to condemn.
from a poster issued by the Scottish Health Education Group
and redesigned with permission from Parents Anonymous Inc.
"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I may not forget you."
"And as we let our light shine,
we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others!"
from 'A Return to Love' by Marianne Williamson, quoted by President Nelson Mandela.
Ask the learner
"Ask the learner what would improve the learning environment for them, then do it."
Judy-Arin Krupp (1985)
Virtual is more real
The Internet has been criticized for not being immediate and "real." By means of virtual reality techniques, learning online may become more "real" than learning offline. Greater possible student involvement is the reason.
Paul -the soarING- Siegel in LearningFOUNT (247)
Mon, 06 Nov 2000 LEARNING FOUNTAIN NETWORK
By these methods alone
"And what joy, think ye, did they feel after the exceedingly long and troublous ascent?- after scrambling, pulling, pushing, lifting, gasping, looking, hoping, despairing, climbing, holding on, falling off, trying, puffing, loosing, gathering, talking, stepping, grumbling, anathematising, scraping, hacking, bumping, jogging, overturning, hunting, straddling, - for know ye that by these methods alone are the most divine mysteries of the Quest revealed?"
Professor Norman Collie, Scottish Mountaineering Journal, 1894
Risk is a magical cliff we build -
a habit that costs us dear -
for when we walk to the edge of it
we feel a terrible fear.
We long to jump, to take the risk,
we desperately want to fly,
but deep inside an insidious voice
insists that we may die.
Despite the voice, if we take the step
from one of those rocky towers
we realise, as we plummet down,
that the choice to fly is ours.
We can spread our wings at any time,
we can spread them anywhere,
for the only reason we cannot fly
is because we will not dare!
F Ashton © (Rev. March 1994)
and is reproduced here with Frank Ashton's permission.
F Ashton © 1994 (Rev. March 1998)
'Factuality' is published at Clearwater and is reproduced here with Frank Ashton's permission.
If you have an appetite for even more 'food for thought' you might also enjoy feasting on one of the most popular pages on this site that explores experiential learning theory.